PhD Fellow in Metabolic Engineering of Cyanobacteria for Production of Aromatic Amino Acids and Derived Phenylpropanoids
University of Copenhagen

PhD fellow in Metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria for production of aromatic amino acids and derived phenylpropanoids

The Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in Metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria commencing 1 May 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The position will be in the group of Professor Poul Erik Jensen, located in the Section of Ingredients and Dairy Technology, Dept. of Food Science, Frederiksberg Campus. The department offers a vibrant research environment within new solutions for society and industry in order to support sustainable food production, food security and safety as well as production of high-quality food promoting human health and wellbeing.

Project description

We aim at developing a photosynthetic production platform utilizing light and CO2 to synthesize aromatic amino acids and high-value flavonoids. We want to establish a production platform using fast growing cyanobacteria. In this project we will build on recent achievement to overproduce phenylalanine and tyrosine in cyanobacteria and will 1) establish production of the aromatic amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine in a fast-growing cyanobacterium strain, 2) establish efficiently biosynthesis of the derivatives p-coumaric acid, caffeic acid and ferulic acid, 3) convert these acids into specific flavonoids and 4) use these strains in continuous production platforms by immobilizing the cells. The project is in collaboration with Dr. Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne at University of Turku, Finland where another PhD student will be involved.

Principal supervisor is Prof. Poul Erik Jensen, Department of Food Science, E-mail:

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend and pass PhD courses
  • To draft and submit research articles as the primary author to peer-review journals
  • To write and submit a high-quality PhD thesis
  • To teach BSc and MSc students in courses and supervise in research laboratories
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • To execute GLP and ensure safety
  • To contribute to the maintenance of shared instruments
  • To participate in Departmental and Section activities

Formal requirements and other criteria

Applicants should hold an MSc degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, or biotechnology with good grades, and they should have good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.  Applicants with prior experience with cyanobacteria or analysis of aromatic amino acids and derived phenylpropanoids using mass-spectrometry will preferred.

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any),
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for application is 1st March 2020, 23:59 GMT +1

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Prof. Poul Erik Jensen, Department of Food Science, E-mail:  Direct Phone: 61344637.

 General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Poul Erik Jensen


Application deadline: 01-03-2020
Employment start: 01-05-2020
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: FOOD

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Physicaloxy


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